Labour Law Reform Lobby Kit
Automatic Card Certification
LABOUR LAW REFORM KIT
"Automatic Card Certification"
Card certification was introduced into Ontario with its post-war Labour Relations Act in 1950. It existed under Conservative Premiers, such as Leslie Frost, John Robarts and Bill Davis. Liberal Premier David Peterson and NDP Premier Bob Rae kept it.
► The Conservative Government and Mike Harris abolished this legislation in 1995.
► The card-based system effectively reduces the ability of employers to intimidate and coerce employees. To impose a vote, after the signing of a union card by an employee, leaves workers open and vulnerable to employer intimidation and coercion.
► The Liberal government, announced amendments to the Labour Relations Act on November 3, 2004. The amendments only extended card certification to the construction sector.
►The construction sector is relatively high wage and the employees are predominately white males.
►To bring in a law that provides less protection and opportunity for women and visible minorities to join a union is discriminatory and wrong.
►To bring in a law that provides less protection and opportunity for women and visible minorities to join a union forces and confines women and visible minorities into lower wage jobs with less protections and rights.
►Stats show that employees in general, women and visible minorities employed fulltime or part time in union jobs make significantly higher wages and benefits than their non-union counterparts.
►After many years of asserting that women were less interested and supportive of unionization, a study undertaken by Charlotte Yates in cooperation with the Ontario Federation of Labour and the BC Federation of Labour offers decisive evidence to the contrary. Survey results from Ontario show that for every one percent increase in the number of women in a workplace, unions have a one percent greater chance of winning a certification drive. The undisputable fact is women in the private sector are more likely to support unionization than men in the private sector.
►But there are significant barriers to women being able to access their right to unionization, not the least of which is the move by provincial labour legislation to give automatic card certification to the male dominated construction trades and make women have intimidating mandatory certification votes.
Our Position - All workers, in every sector, should have card-based certification.
► The Provincial Liberal Party and its leader, Dalton McGuinty are discriminating against the most vulnerable workers - women, visible minorities, newly landed immigrants, and workers with disabilities with their sexist, racist labour legislation.
►The exclusion of the majority of workers from the card-based system hurts women and New Canadians the most - through bold irresponsible discrimination.
►It is vital that the law fulfill its obligation to protect and safeguard the right of freedom of choice to join a union for all workers, not just those in the construction sector.
Please read Wayne Fraser's December 15th, 2004 "Campaign to Restore Card - Based Certification letter (enclosed in the lobby package) to all Ontario Employees. This document will give you a full understanding of the history of auto card certification, the facts and a more detailed position. A must read before you lobby. Another resource document is Wayne Frasers Submission to the Ontario Minister of Labour, Chris Bentley "Restoring the Right of Ontario's Employees to Unionize" on May 26th, 2004.
► Women's rate of unionization of 30.6% surpassed that of men's 30.3% for the first time.
► Women's average income still lags behind that of men's. Unionized fulltime women's average pay was 92% of men's in 2003. Non-union women earned only 80% of their full-time male counterparts.
► Back in 1977 only 12% of women workers were unionized. Today 48% are union members. This change constitutes "the biggest and most profound transformation in union membership" according to Statistics Canada.
► Union membership "wage" advantages in Canada:
All Wages: 26% greater than non-union workers.
Fulltime Wages: 19% greater than non-union workers.
Part-Time Wages: 66% greater than non-union workers.
► Union membership "benefits" advantages in Canada:
Dental Coverage: 32% more likely with a union.
Pension Plan: 50% more likely with a union.
Leave Entitlement: 19% more likely with a union.
4 weeks or more Vacation: 30% more likely with a union.
Sick Leave: 32% more likely with a union.
Supplemental Health Care Plan: 39% more likely with a union.
►The above are advantages that all working people should have a right to obtain, through card check certification. Not just the male dominated construction trades.
Ontario organizing results:
►1994-95 prior to the anti - worker legislation enacted by Mike Harris and his Tory Government - 762 certification at the Labour Board with a success rate of 77%. The number of workers joining a union was 32,116.
► 2003-04 - 301 certifications at the Labour Board with a success rate of 51%. The number of workers joining a union was 12,173.
►The decline clearly demonstrates that employees in Ontario today are being denied the same right to join a union as was present in 1994 or even 1950. The need for the Liberal Government to restore card base certification for all workers in Ontario, and not just the construction trades, is an issue of fairness, equality and respect for all members of our society.
►This maybe a possible response by your Liberal MPP - as to why the construction trades are going to receive auto certification.
This was released by Belinda Sutton "Ministry of Labour" in a Government News Release dated November 3, 2004.
Special certification rules to recognize the uniqueness of the construction sector.
The legislation, if passed would re-establish a card-based certification system for the construction sector. From 1950 to 1995, a certification system based on membership cards submitted by the union was the norm. As an alternative to holding a vote, automatic certification could take place if a union signed up to more than 55 percent of the employees in the bargaining unit. Given the emphasis on project work and the mobile nature of the workforce in the construction sector, re-introducing such a system here promotes individual choice, fairness and balance.
►The re-establishment of the card-based certification system only in the male dominated construction sector does not reflect the reality of today's workers.
►Many, many sectors and thousands of people struggle to make a living in the part-time and contingent workforce. They work shift work, contract work and often more than one job.
►An example of workers that do "project work and mobile in nature" - is the security sector. Security guards work in isolated and difficult work environments. They are often moved from site to site throughout large geographic areas. This sector employs some of the most vulnerable workers who are clearly being discriminated against with this Liberal response.
Tip - Stay focused on your agenda - "automatic card certification"
►The Liberal MPP may want to change the discussion about what other changes they are suggesting to make to our Labour Laws. The complete proposed legislation is enclosed for you review, but stay focused; we are there to debate one issue.
►We want to specifically challenge the "automatic card certification" legislation that the Liberals have restored for the construction trade unions but have not offered the same legislation for all other workers.
►Liberals are discriminating against women, visible minorities, newly landed immigrants, and workers with disabilities with their sexist, racist labour legislation.
►We submit that unless the rights of ALL working people in Ontario to join a union is restored, the standard of living in this Province is threatened; also, that the Ontario Liberal government has, inappropriately discriminated against, a segment of its own citizens.